TEИET Movie Review

The biggest film of the year released so far and quite possibly the biggest film to come out all year (hopefully not), Tenet delivered as true big-screen movie watching experience.  Tenet which was written and directed by the phenomenal Christopher Nolan, might not be his best film but it still delivers an entertaining experience. I will not go into spoilers in this review, mainly because I still do not understand everything in the movie.  With cinemas currently closed again in Toronto, the chance of me being to watch it again are slim until it arrives on streaming.  I will say that it is likely you will find the movie a little hard to follow.  There are a lot of moving parts and lots of jargon that will be explained with more jargon.  The story is easy to follow but the details of the story are where things get confusing.  By saying the film is confusing might sound like a criticism but in this case, I feel it will make you want to see the movie again and again.


Tenet stars John David Washington as "the Protagonist" (the character is actually called the Protagonist), and he is drawn into a mission to save the world from a Russian Oligarch Andrei Sator (played by Kenneth Branagh) who has connections to the future.  Robert Pattinson plays Neil a fellow agent assisting the Protagonist in his mission, and Elizabeth Debicki plays Kat a woman who is Sator's wife.  The action takes the Protagonist all over the world and includes some amazing action set pieces.  To properly cover the plot would a lot more words and even then I'm sure I could probably not properly explain the plot. When I look at Christopher Nolan's filmography there is not a single bad film and all of them have depth to them.  The film in his filmography that is most similar to Tenet is Inception, but where Leonardo Dicaprio was the heart of that film I don't think John David Washington is the heart of Tenet.  The Protagonist might be the lead of the film, but he does not have a big emotional journey in the film.  I think Robert Pattinson's Neil might be the character you end up having the biggest emotional connection to.  I cannot explain why without giving spoilers but I can say that by the end of the film I had an attachment to Neil.  

The action and set pieces might be the star of the film but all the actors are great in the film and they all get to add little touches to their characters.  After his breakout performance in BlacKKKlansman John David Washington is again fantastic in Tenet.  The Protagonist is a character who much like the audience is learning about the plot as the movie unfolds, he is confident but that wavers when he learns just how in over his head he is.  Neil on the other hand knows more than he lets on and his chemistry with the Protagonist is fantastic.  Andrei Sator might be the weakest character in the film as we don't learn as much about him as I wish we could.  The film gives us some of the details but there are too many moments in the film where Sator just seems like a bad guy, we don't get to see his human side enough.  Branagh is fine as Sator but his portrayal as Sator seems too familiar to the character Branagh played in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit who was also a Russian tycoon plotting an attack.  Elizabeth Debicki is fantastic as Kat, Sator's estranged wife who like the Protagonist is drawn into the conflict. 


I think to try and rank Tenet amongst Christopher Nolan's filmography I would need a few more watches of Tenet.  That being said, I think Tenet is not one of his stronger films but I still think it is an excellent film.  The only thing that keeps Tenet from being one Nolan's best films is the convoluted plot even though the acting and action set pieces are top-notch.  The plot might be convoluted but it is very interesting and I think if I understood it better I might think Tenet to be a masterpiece.  The fact that I am excited to be able to watch it again, means that the movie reached me and made me feel something.  One of my favourite aspects of a Christopher Nolan film is his endings, I have loved the ending to all of his films.  At the end of a Nolan film, I always feel pumped and emotional, I think Tenet has a great ending too.  I think Tenet is a must-watch film and if you can see it in theatres (when it is safe) I would encourage you to do so.   If I had to give Tenet a letter grade it would be a B+ or an A-, out of 10 I would give it an 8.  

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